Are you doing what they tell you? Or are you doing what you want?
That’s it, ladies and gentlemen. That’s the takeaway. That’s Miller’s point. That’s the lesson learned.
In a word, “Don’t do what they tell you.”
Why not? Because if you’re doing what they tell you before the world goes mad, then you will definitely do what they tell you after the world goes mad. Make no mistake, though, the world will go mad. And we won’t all get to be Max or Furiosa.
So in Mad Max: Fury Road there’s an enormous skull thing carved out of a rock face. We’re shown this shrine in the first few minutes of the film. As awesome as the rest of the movie was, and it was awesome, I couldn’t stop thinking about how the megalomaniacs in charge of the barbarian hordes convinced anyone to create that sculpture. I mean the world’s gone to shit already. Why keep up the symbols? Who would even possess the skill and dexterity to create such a large piece of pseudo-art?
But then I think of my time in the service and also in the oil fields. Men are capable of wondrous deeds. Moreover, people love when those in power direct their attention on them. Even I have fallen prey to basking in the limelight of a boss’s approval despite knowing it was unwarranted or wholly irrelevant. And in those moments I can see Mr. Bossman saying, “I want a skull thing,” and men answering, “Where?”
No more, I say.
The more I write, the more conversations I have with close friends and family about things that were previously hidden. Maybe it’s just my family and friends, but if this blog’s content and conversations have taught me any overarching lesson that I would take to the streets Malcolm X-style, it’s that there is no reason–not-a-one–to work a crummy job. If you’re in debt, get your finances in order, stay until you can quit, then quit. If you’re not in debt, quit today. Forty hours a week–wait, who we kiddin’?–fifty hours a week is too many hours each week to spend doing anything other than what you want to do.
Or you can carve the skull thing.
In the end, Mad Max: Fury Road is great fun for adults. Watch it and don’t forget to enjoy yourself.
In case you missed it, last week action film superstar Vin Diesel claimed that his new movie Furious 7 (in theaters this Friday) will win a few academy awards. That was before he saw the trailer to Mission Impossible Rogue Nation, which is Tom “TC-to-me” Cruise’s newest entry in his own unexpectedly lengthy action franchise.
And so yesterday, in a bizarre turn of events, Diesel formally and sheepishly recanted his odd prediction, saying,
“I wanted to be excited. I really thought Furious 7 pushed the envelope and had the perfect mix of everything that makes for a killer flick and a critically acclaimed feature film.”
He then coolly stroked his chin while his eyes looked beyond the horizon, adding,
“And in another Oscar year, maybe it would have won.”
Returning to the moment, he excitedly asked,
“I mean, have you guys see Tom Cruise’s newest trailer? I can’t compete with that. No one can. Much respect.”
Never one to deflect praise, Cruise’s reaction to reporter’s barrage of questions regarding this incident was to simply smile his million dollar smile and say,
“What can I say? Vin knows movies.”
Dear Stereo Makers,
How many times have you ever broken a nail with a hammer? Or how many times have you sat on a chair and had the chair just simply break? I know! I know! How many times have you turned on a faucet and the water came out so fast that it put a hole in the sink? No, better yet, how many times have you read a book so fast that it broke?
Then why, for the love, do you sell a product which allows me to turn up the volume so loud that it breaks my speakers? Why? Surely there’s a way you can prevent this. Surely you can put a line on the knob that lets me know “any louder now, Bub, and you might break your speakers”. I would obey. Promise.
Thank you for reading. Just do better.
PS – If you’re interested, I ended the affair. The End.
People don’t remember that twenty years ago the first minivans had two bench seats. And just one sliding door. And no TV screens. Worse yet, the speed limits were slower. Road trips, coast-to-coast family vacations took longer. It was quite miserable having to spend time with your family.
Only then came bucket seats. And CD players. And space. And younger brothers. Soon, everyone sat in their own seat.
But there were occasionally short moments, usually right after a sack lunch at a rest area, when the trip would become bearable. And in those moments, the family played car games that involved talking to each other. Single words became phrases and phrases became conversations. Conversations, of course, became love. And love blossomed into memories.
A simple, yet fun, way to prolong the sugar high was a game where players had to name cities which began with the last letter of the previous city. Bismark, led to Kansas City, which led to Yorkshire, to Edmonton and so on and so forth.
Anyone who has played this game can remember that after a few rounds, everyone seemed always to get stuck on cities that ended in “y”. Not the youngest brother. Receiving New York City, he quickly returned Yukon. Oklahoma City became Yonkers, and Sioux City led to Yorba Linda. Wait, what? Yorba Linda? How did Sam know Yorba Linda?
As one, father, mother, sister, and brother all turned back to see how he was doing it.
Looking up towards the silence, young Sam feigned ignorance to the rules of the game as he closed the giant road atlas and its alphabetical index.
That reminds me. The first minivans didn’t have GPS either.
A man doing manual labor with a hand towel draped over his shoulder is the hardest worker in the company, and I cannot be convinced otherwise.
The thought of running a microwave for more than seven minutes at a time terrifies me more than anything. I have no idea why.
If the people I see that are wealthy are what you have to be like to become wealthy, I don’t want any part of it.
People seem to be unclear on the point of bumper stickers. Bumper stickers should tell us something we don’t already know about you. Two groups seem especially unclear on this. First, hybrid owners: you don’t need to put a sticker on your car that says anything about being pro-green–we get it. Second, African-Americans: pro-Obama stickers? Is it to shame the remaining 7% of you who didn’t vote for him?
Studies and experience seem to reveal that the more educated people become, the less children they have. Of all human behaviors worth researching with the intent of reversing its course, this one needs the most attention soonest.
(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions).
In the classic western Tombstone the new actress in town is awestruck by who-she-doesn’t-yet-know-is Wyatt Earp. The actress’s friend says to her, “My dear, you’ve set your gaze upon the quintessential frontier type. Note the lean silhouette…eyes closed by the sun, though sharp as a hawk.”
For some reason that quote sprung to his mind when he thought of describing his new boss. Standing a lean 6 feet, the man’s movements signaled to all–customers and staff–that he was in charge. But that’s not the extraordinary thing. What’s extraordinary is his oneness with the job.
It’s retail. Business can be slow or fast. Apart from the length of the line, anyone wanting to know how busy it is need simply look at the man. When business is slow, he focuses on the numbers and keeps everyone ready for it to pick up. When business is fast, his smile beams an uncommon love of the job. The line of customers can be out the door, and he just smiles and smiles. Where some would be stressed, he handles the situation with exceptional grace. This grace stems from a certain pride in knowing that he is doing his job well. In response to “man, you should see your face. How are you so happy?”, he clarifies “It’s not that we’re busy, it’s that we’re so busy and things are running so smoothly.” His smile betrays his joy. It is a joy founded on purity. And that is why he is the boss.
Instructions for How To Get A Raise
Step 1 — FLATTER your boss endlessly.
Step 2 — REPEAT Step 1.
Well, I’ll tell ya. Working at a car wash–for me–is like listening to a broken record on which is recorded Mr. Miagi’s “Wax on, Wax off,” Improved-George McFly’s “Now, Biff, I want make sure that we get two coats of wax this time, not just one,” and Chris Rock’s “Scrape, scrape, scrape…surely two hours have passed…WHAT?! Only 15 minutes!! AHHHHHH!!!!!”
In other words, it’s kinda fun. Thanks for asking.